Setting Boundaries With a Drug Addict

When someone close to you needs to go to a rehab for drug addicts and alcoholics, it can be difficult to know how to set appropriate boundaries. That’s because for an addict, drugs or alcohol is the most important thing. Feeding the need for drugs and alcohol is even more important to an addict than meeting the needs for food, water or shelter. For the addict, drugs and alcohol will always be more important than their relationships with friends and loved ones – at least, they will until the addict gets help from a rehab for drug addicts.

What can you, as the friend or loved one of an addict, do? While you can’t force your addicted friend or loved one to seek addiction help, healthy, strong boundaries can protect you from the emotional fallout of watching your loved one crash and burn. Good boundaries can also help you refrain from enabling the addict in your life, so that he or she might be more likely to eventually acknowledge the need to enter a rehab for drug addicts and alcoholics.

You Can’t Help Others Without First Helping Yourself

If you’re like many people watching a friend or loved one struggle with addiction, you probably want to do anything you can to help. Most people balk at the idea of setting limits with an addicted friend or loved one; they feel guilty for withholding whatever the addict might demand, whether that be time, money or practical assistance.

Believe us when we say that you’re not betraying your friend or loved one by setting healthy boundaries. Setting boundaries protects you from being taken advantage of, and keeps you healthy so that you can offer whatever assistance and support is within your means to provide. Without strong boundaries, you’ll soon find that you’re of little use to anyone, least of all yourself.

Decide Where Your Boundaries Are

When someone you love needs addiction help, it’s important that you decide what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable. Study your interactions with the addicted person over the course of a few weeks or a month, and write down the behaviors that bother you.

A person who needs to go to a rehab for drug addicts and alcoholics may not behave very well, even towards those he or she has professed to love in the past. Don’t take it personally; it doesn’t mean your addicted friend or loved one doesn’t love you anymore. It just means that his or her addiction has taken over and is dictating his or her behavior. Your addicted loved one may be rude to you, make degrading remarks, be late frequently or even become abusive.

Take your time making this list; many behaviors from a person in need of rehab for drug addicts can fall into an ambiguous grey area where you’re not sure if they are tolerable or not. You need to be certain that you’re setting the right boundaries, because changing them later will only make you look like a person who can be pushed around, and the addict will seize on any weakness you show. In the process of making your list, take note of any frequent or recurring arguments you find yourself having with the addict.  Later on, you will want to sidestep these disputes as they arise.

Establish Consequences During Rehab for Drug Addicts

Once you’ve decided where your boundaries are, you’re going to need to enforce them. The first time your addicted loved one does something that violates your boundaries, let him or her know, and advise him or her that there will be consequences the next time it happens. These consequences shouldn’t be designed to punish the addict, but to protect yourself and stop any enabling behaviors.

For example, if you decide that you’ll no longer tolerate lateness, then an appropriate consequence could be to wait 15 minutes and then carry on with whatever you were doing without the addict. If you set a boundary around money and the addict violates it by, for example, withdrawing money from a joint checking account without permission or spending money earmarked for another purpose on drugs, an appropriate consequence would closing the account and opening another that does not bear the addict’s name, or refusing to give the addict any more money. Consequences such as these minimize the damage the addict is able to do to your own life, while hopefully encouraging him or her to see the need to enter a rehab for drug addicts.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, our rehab for drug addicts and alcoholics can help.

Call The Delray Center for Healing today at 888-699-5679.